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mosque attack in Brussels

March 14, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s been long long long time since my last post. I tried to post couple of times, but my attempts failed. Either my drafts disappeared, or something went wrong with the Internet and the text was lost. Hopefully this time I will be able to publish this one.

Yesterday, a mosque attack in Brussels was on the news. Very early in the morning a Shiite mosque was attacked by some unknown person(s). Turkish media revealed this event as a “racist attack”. And I am pretty sure that most people (including Muslims, especially Euro-Muslims) also thought so. Who on earth would attack a mosque with a petroleum bomb, set a fire and kill the Imam? Of course a racist, an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, Islamophobic person. International mainstream media (eg. AFP) made references to the densed immigrant population in the district where the mosque is located. Everybody was expecting something racist or anti-Muslim as the motive of this attack.

But, no. After a couple of hours, there were some rumors about the suspect. He was a Muslim. Yes, he is a born-Muslim (and probably born in Belgium). An official from the mosque reported that this guy is known as a Salafist in the district.

I am not interested in the religious orientation of the suspect. But, in the hidden racism in our minds. Expecting an anti-Muslim, Islamophobic bomber is not different from blaming the Muslims first, when there is a bombed attack on any part of the earth (except the mosques). Scapegoating of Muslims, especially in the Western world, is reversed in this case.

Personally, I take my lesson.

P.S.: Even though I moved Istanbul, I still read DutchNews everyday. Do not if I am gonna give up this habit. But I am fine with following the Dutch politics.

But, hey when did Job Cohen resigned, and why?  I completely missed that news. It was probably when I was dying at my new place, without any piece of Internet.

Right now, I am in a seminar course in the university. I feel ashamed because I typed this post, when listening to a friend making a presentation right now. 😦

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Go away to your own country!

June 12, 2011 3 comments

Today, there was no class in the mosque. We wanted to have a picnic, everyone brought home-made nice food. But the weather was a bit chilly and the ground was still wet, so it is decided that we’ll have an “indoor picnic”. That was easy, really easy. We could “control” the children within the mosque, it would have been harder to do that in the park. Other teachers very much liked this idea.

After the “picnic”, I decided to take the students in my class to the park, just to have a walk and spend time together. While we were on the way to the park, two “autochtone” teenage girls were passing by to the opposite direction. There happened a dialogue (I’d rather call it a squabble) between my girls and those two. I hadn’t seen how it started, later learnt from the students.

We were walking with a group of eight-nine students (all with headscarves -normally only two of them wear headscarves regularly, others do not. but it is compulsory to wear it, when coming to the mosque-), they were making jokes, playing with their mobile phones and laughing. There were these two girls a few steps ahead. First, students and the approaching two girls stared at each other, in a strange way. Then the two girls asked ‘what are you doing, why are you laughing?’. ‘We are not laughing at you’, said the students.

(Here, I really do not understand how the discussion came to that point..)
Then the two girls shouted: ‘go away to your own country!’
My girls got really angry.
(Although they always say that they do not like this country, and would prefer living in Turkey, they reacted against these girls.. That’s good, there is a sign of love for this country 😉 )
All of them had something to tell for those girls.

‘We are alright in this country, if you are not, then you should go away!’, said one of them.

Some nasty memories of mine came to my mind. I remember hearing very similar sentences on the streets of Istanbul, from some old ladies, sometimes from old men.. ‘You, go away to Iran/Saudi Arabia with your headscarf!’, ‘You, brainwashed people of Hezbollah!’..
Those reactions, of course, did hurt. But I believed those old people had different mindsets which make them reject and react against anything or anyone ‘different’ from theirs. So, I just tried to ignore them.

Today, it was different. This time, similar ‘go away’ sentences were said by young people, other fellow girls, who are supposed to share and shape the future.

Sometimes I feel worried about the future. But not always. Today I do. I really do.

Catholic school can ‘lawfully’ ban the headscarf

Court rules:

“the ban is in line with the school’s wish to preserve its Catholic character. The school is not limiting freedom of expression or discriminating against the girl on religious grounds”.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about how a teenage girl is banned from the school because of her headscarf, despite the opinion of Equal Treatment Commision in favor of her. Then the girl went to the court. And, as you read above, the court ruled against the opinion of the commision. The school is right to ban the headscarf. We can now expect other private schools to ban the headscarf following this decision.

Today I read another news about another girl with headscarf, rejected by Aldi (one of the greatest supermarket chains in the country) when she applied for a job as cashier. When this was publicized, they withdrew their decision.

It is clear that there is a tendency to ban the headscarf all around the country (read Europe). Why? Have they just noticed that women with headscarves cannot be impartial (who is impartial? none.) or just noticed that those scarves are Islamic but not traditional? I repeat, the iidea of headscarf ban is the stupidest invention of modern, secular human minds.

That’s worrying.

PS: you can read the statement of Equal Treatment Comission on the issue here.

Volendamse klederdracht vs hoofddoek

March 31, 2011 4 comments

A fifteen year old girl is banned from the school because of her headscarf, in Volendam. The reason is that her headscarf is not acceptable in Catholicism, so in a Catholic school she cannot wear it. She made a complaint to the Dutch Equal Treatment Commission, and the Commission decided against the school. However, the decisions of the Commission are not binding. So, the school did not lift the ban. Now, she sued the school and is going to the court.

I do not know what is gonna happen in the end, but a friend of me has a funny suggestion for her. (By the way, the name of this girl is Imane.) He is wondering what happens if she wears a traditional Volendam costumes, which also includes a funny headscarf. Volendam is a historical Dutch village, famous with tulips, mills and farmers. Traditional costumes of the farmers are often referred to as “national costume” of the Dutch. It is specially called “Volemdamse klederdracht”. You can see many versions of those clothes on many souvenirs sold in tourist shops etc.

Anyway, I found my friend’s suggestion important because that can make people to question their logic behind the ban. I hope Imane can also think of that idea. Then, we may witness an interesting trial and distance ourselves from the dullness of the politics here..

is this the same hema?

March 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Last week, in Belgium, a woman was fired by hema, a dutch company, because she rejected taking off her headscarf. She is not non-western or of immigrant origin, but she is a native belgian, just converted to islam.. And hema kicked her off due to some complaints by their customers, who are disturbed by her headscarf..

Wow! See, how customer-friendly hema is!

Interestingly, a couple of years ago, same company had initiated a campaign “el-hema”. During the campaign, they presented and advertised some products in arabic, sold some typically arabic items etc. and published an image of a young women with headscarf on their ads. I think it was to promote multiculturalism and to praise differences in the society. (Of course, the main idea behind was to take the advantage of two muslim holidays and make money out of it.)

So, what has changed since then? What’s wrong with hema now? I do not think it’s changed.. They just distunguish between headscarved customers and headscarved hema staff.. The first group is always welcome as customers, the second group is not, because of complaining customers.. It’s all about their customer-friendly nature of the company..

This distinction between staff and customers, or buyers and sellers, if you like, is very much parallel to the Turkish distinction between those receiving public service and those serving for the public. Some of our freedom defender liberal intellectuals argue that, the former group should be free to wear headscarf, but the latter one should not, because they are expected to be neutral. (I could write for pages, on this stupid idea of human neutrality.)

And to conclude, I should say, that’s not the first case of hema about headscarf.. I know that a friend of my friend is also asked to remove her headscarf to work in hema (in the netherlands).. If she had publicized that event, or at least gone to the court and accused them of discrimination, she would have won the case, for sure..

Long live customer-oriented world!

Categories: islamophobia Tags: , , , ,